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What happens when you combine the luxurious look and feel of leather with the unprecedented strength of Dyneema® fiber – the strongest fiber in the world – and push it to the max? The result is Dyneema® Bonded Leather, the new material created in collaboration between ECCO Leather and DSM Dyneema: the thinnest yet strongest leather on the market.
From today on, designers and brands have a new material to work with: a paper-thin material, with the appealing and luxurious look of leather. Normally, leather this thin, would be weak. It would tear with the least of pressure and would lose its shape.
Enter Dyneema® fiber. “The world’s strongest fiber. Fifteen times stronger than steel, yet floating on water, We effortlessly cooperate with trailblazers and state-of-the-art brands to create fabrics and materials for performance-inspired apparel, footwear and accessories that are stronger, lighter, and more durable and comfortable than anything currently available.” says Noud Steffens, global business director DSM Dyneema Performance Fabrics.
And enter the vision of ECCO Leather. ECCO Leather’s reputation as tanning innovators made the company the logical choice to co-develop a new leather material bonding Dyneema® Composite Fabric with the rich and organic properties of premium leather.
“We wanted to make use of extreme tear-resistant strength and superlative lightweight characteristics of Dyneema® fabrics without compromising our own standards for delivering on the unique inherent qualities of high quality bovine leather,” says Panos Mytaros, ECCO Leather CEO. “We don’t release a new leather concept unless we can achieve a balance between genuine innovation and the best attributes of genuine leather making tradition. We refer to this as ‘Leatherizing’ and it constitutes the defining ethos of our entire range”.
The secret of Dyneema® Bonded Leather is rooted in a multi-phase development sequence involving pre-tanning, bonding and a careful series of interim and final-tanning stages. The first challenge was to develop a way of effectively bonding Dyneema® Composite Fabric along the full surface of thinly skived high-grade bovine hide. The bonding process needed to maintain enough adhesion-integrity to withstand a battalion of secondary and final tanning processes. Achieving this bond, ECCO Leather was then able to refine the material by deploying milling, tumbling, toggling and finishing stages designed to bring out the leather’s natural qualities.
The result is a unique new leather featuring a fine natural surface character blending aspects of distinctive Dyneema® fabric structure with the leather’s original grain pattern. Dyneema® Bonded Leather by ECCO Leather, delivers on the performance expectations of Dyneema® fabrics matching the tensile strength and comparable leather qualities at a fraction of the weight. The final material also simultaneously integrates unique haptic and visual chrematistics that give it unexpected expressive potential within the fashion sector, while still being relevant for highly functional performance-based applications. “Dyneema® Bonded Leather by ECCO Leather is a next level material that opens up endless possibilities.” says Noud Steffens.
Sruli Recht worked within the ECCO Leather team at the time of the project’s development and shouldered the task of testing conceptual product applications designed to express the material’s unique mix of esthetic and functional attributes in prototype bag and outerwear designs. “Dyneema® Bonded Leather is a high-end, luxury, leather-look, futuristic material that is ultra light with an unbreakable performance. A truly new innovation that gives designers and brands worldwide something fantastic to work with.”